Why is this project at Princeton and not at the University of Virginia?
This is one of the most common questions we get and it is logical to think that Jefferson’s Papers would be edited at the university he created in Virginia and not in New Jersey! The Princeton connection has to do with Julian P. Boyd, the first editor of the Jefferson Papers who was himself a prominent scholar of the Declaration of Independence and the librarian at Princeton University from 1940 to 1952. He served as a member of the Jefferson Bicentennial Commission in the early 1940s and when the idea arose of publishing a comprehensive and authoritative edition of not just the letters Jefferson wrote but those he received as well, Boyd stepped up to the plate to serve as editor. With Princeton as his professional affiliation, he was able to get the university’s commitment to serve as institutional host for the project. Boyd established the editorial office in Firestone Library and contracted with Princeton University Press which has been publishing the volumes ever since Volume 1 appeared in 1950.